How Small Changes Can Make a Big Impact
Every expense matters. No matter how small or seemingly trivial, it all adds up.
Some businesses might discard these small amounts as something not worth concerning themselves with, preferring instead to concentrate on the ‘big picture’. However, a business’s long time viability and health relies upon its ability to recognise wastage and cost and mitigate them. No matter how ambitious the company is, if they are unable to recognise when they could be doing something better then they may well find themselves in trouble.
Attention to the small details breeds attentiveness to the overall business, and marks out innovative, proactive businesses from those that are more likely to fall behind. Below we will look at some measures that, even though ‘small’, can have a big impact.
Paper and Printing
It is easy to forget, with the everyday hurly burly of running a business, just how much paper a company can use. In the background of every office, behind the tapping of keyboards and employees on the phone, is the endless drone of the printer. When one considers this, it can become apparent just how much paper even a small business can use. Moreover, with something that is so widely used comes the inevitable waste.
Loudhouse, a business consultancy service, undertook a study for printing company Kyocera in 2010, which looked at paper wastage across UK business. Astoundingly, it found that the average UK officer worker ploughs through 10,000 sheets of paper a year, of which 6,800 pages are unnecessary or wasted.
The Study by Loudhouse found that the average UK employee goes through 10,000 sheets of paper per year.
Of these 6,800 wasted sheets of paper, 1,100 were printed solely for proofreading, 2,100 sheets could be printed double-sided, and 1,600 could be read on screen instead of on paper. These staggering numbers highlight not only the vast amount of wasted paper for a business every year, but also the amounts of money that are lost.
We can glean some readily apparent solutions just from these figures. Documents that require proofreading on a computer screen should not be printed. Proofreading is the last step before printing in its final form, it is totally unnecessary to print something for proofreading. Double-sided printing is another simple, glaring solution to paper wastage. If the document is purely internal, there is no reason not to maximise the usage of every single piece of paper and make it double-sided.
A simple, well-defined policy on these matters can help a business to save massive amounts of money over a year.
A simple, well-defined policy on these matters can help a business to save massive amounts of money over a year. For smaller businesses, these savings can mean more funds to fold into the business, rather than seeing them melt away on something such as the cost of paper.
Laptops over Desktops
Laptops, as well as being more portable and taking up a lot less space, are much more energy efficient than a desktop.
A desktop, as well as running the tower component, also needs power for its monitor, which use a fair amount of energy themselves. Not to mention the enormous power drain of a desktop and monitor left on overnight. A laptop, on the other hand, is a single, compact unit. Most people will instinctively close a laptop when finished with it, whereas people are much more likely to forget to shut down a desktop computer and leave it running.
A study by the Energy Saving Trust found that laptops typically consume 85 percent less electricity over the course of a year than a desktop. They calculate that this could mean about £16 of savings over a year per laptop. If the business extrapolates this to every employee over a business, it again means very significant savings. Team this with the fact that laptops mean a more mobile, moveable workforce, and there is no reason not to consider it.
Be Aware of Contract End Dates
Many businesses, large and small, can forget when a contract is up for renewal. Whether it is phone lines, the internet, or anything else, it always pay to shop around and get the best deal possible.
Many businesses will forget that renewal is approaching and, when the supplying company rings, will agree to carry on with their current arrangement. Usually, this is because the business has not had the time to look around for a better deal, so they take the easy route and stick with what they know.
Instead, set a reminder – whether it is on a phone, tablet, or calendar for a few weeks before the contract is up for renewal. This will put the business in a much better, more informed position to either switch providers or negotiate a better contract. Quoting rivals better rates and offers will make the provider work for the contract, instead of making it a cakewalk. Telecoms and internet providers will work hard to keep a customer, so work every angle to get more for less.
Savings can come in many forms – as we have showed above. It only takes a little analysis and planning to potentially save a business large amounts of money over a year.